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American Rolls Royce (Ghost, PI & PII)


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On 2/11/2021 at 3:15 AM, Keith Ward said:

I understood that a fully assembled new head from Fiennes with valves etc was less than £10k plus taxed.

The exchange rate is better now than in past, at the time the head for my car was bought the cost was like 17K Fiennes verses 19K Vintage Garage, but unless something has changed the PI heads have been unavailable via Fiennes for a several years now.   Currently, a PII head is £9,030.00 and that is $12,656.89, plus ... and more plus.    The advantage of the Vintage Garage head (route taken for my former car) was that it had all the valving fully completed, all parts for assembly, and had been test run on a chassis prior to your receipt - those days now gone as well. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

So there is nothing more expensive than a cheap Rolls Royce,  right?    But,  where are you going to find an AJS/AMS series Phantom II for under 50k?    There are so many less worthwhile projects being agonized over right now.

 

https://www.gullwingmotorcars.com/1931-rolls-royce-phantom-ii-c-4272.htm

 

1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Brewster-Bodied Huntingdon Seven-Passenger Limousine: 1 of 125 left-hand drive Phantom II chassis built in England for the US market after the Springfield, MA factory stopped production

Chassis no. 207AJS is one of only 125 left-hand drive Phantom II chassis built in England for the American market after the Springfield, Massachusetts factory stopped production. This 1931 Brewster-bodied Huntingdon seven-passenger limousine was first sold to McSweeney in Atlantic City, NJ who had also previously owned two Rolls-Royces: 393HH and S240RM. A plate showing later ownership by Robert Ducruax of NY is also present. Chrome is decent and paint is two-tone black and burgundy but everything requires restoration. The door fit looks good but at the bottom there is some flaring out. Original interior in decent order, and with care, much of the original rear interior could be retained. Usable seat in the back with no rips or tears. Woodwork is checked in front but complete and there is a full range of instruments. Odometer shows 45,000 miles. Not running but the engine compartment looks very complete and undisturbed. The black vinyl top is in good shape. The glass is checked and frosted from age. Windscreen on front is showing some aging. A flying lady mascot comes with the car but the mount is wrong for the radiator. A rewarding project. It would surely be impossible to find a more reasonable AJS/AMS chassis proposition!

Chassis no. 207AJS

Price: $49,500 Firm

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I find the under hood VERY DISTURBING! In condition. (Read the ad.....engine is not disturbed, meaning no one has the balls to work on it yet.) Cool car. 2000 hours and 800k and it would be a decent driver. A total restoration would be more. I just got back from one of the top Rolls shops in the world. It was a great experience. Learned about English Ghost chassis, P1 reproduction parts. And most interesting, PII problems with failing metallurgy...........the new crankshafts they are making are amazing. I would pass out if I had to write the check. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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That's the car that was sitting outside behind a gas station/repair garage for a year in Akron.  Engine is stuck.  I think they were asking around 50K for it a couple years ago.   So Kumar probably paid 20-25K for it and is now trying to double his money.       

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6 hours ago, K8096 said:

That's the car that was sitting outside behind a gas station/repair garage for a year in Akron.  Engine is stuck.  I think they were asking around 50K for it a couple years ago.   So Kumar probably paid 20-25K for it and is now trying to double his money.       

 

 

You know, that was the first thing I thought of when I saw Kumar was selling this.    These are the pictures you took back in May of 2018.

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

I find the under hood VERY DISTURBING! In condition. (Read the ad.....engine is not disturbed, meaning no one has the balls to work on it yet.) Cool car. 2000 hours and 800k and it would be a decent driver. A total restoration would be more. I just got back from one of the top Rolls shops in the world. It was a great experience. Learned about English Ghost chassis, P1 reproduction parts. And most interesting, PII problems with failing metallurgy...........the new crankshafts they are making are amazing. I would pass out if I had to write the check. 

 

If you do nothing but mechanical,  you might have a running driving car for under 100k.   I agree that if the head is junk that might be hard to do.

 

It makes the one that Tom Laferriere sold for 99k look like a bargain.

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4 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

If you do nothing but mechanical,  you might have a running driving car for under 100k.   I agree that if the head is junk that might be hard to do.

 

It makes the one that Tom Laferriere sold for 99k look like a bargain.

 

 

100K won't change the oil and tune it up. I was told the car was left uncovered outside with the plugs out and the rain made its way inside..............

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Here's some more shots from May, 2018.  Spark plugs appear to be in place.  They were soaking it with tranny fluid to try to free it up.  It has the original jack & handle in the engine compartment.   That's probably something missing on most cars.   Everytime I visited it I would carefully put the cover back on it and put pieces of wood to hold it in place, and everytime I returned it was blown off.   The ower had left it there for the garage to try to get running.   Nothing happened.  

 

 

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Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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Sad ending to a fine auto. Typical hacks working on something they have absolutely no business looking at it, never mind opening the hood. It will become parts........a sad fate for a great car.

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I think parts car is a bit of an exaggeration Ed.   However, I will share with you they were thinking of drilling a hole in the flywheel cover so they could pry on the flywheel with a screwdriver to try to get it to turn over.   Thankfully they didn't get that far.        

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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22 hours ago, edinmass said:

I find the under hood VERY DISTURBING! In condition. (Read the ad.....engine is not disturbed, meaning no one has the balls to work on it yet.) Cool car. 2000 hours and 800k and it would be a decent driver. A total restoration would be more. I just got back from one of the top Rolls shops in the world. It was a great experience. Learned about English Ghost chassis, P1 reproduction parts. And most interesting, PII problems with failing metallurgy...........the new crankshafts they are making are amazing. I would pass out if I had to write the check. 

 

I figured you were in town to see Steve.

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6 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I figured you were in town to see Steve.


Yup.........I’ll grace you and your lovey wife with my presence next time I am in town.........which will be soon. By the way....the car rental at the airport SUCKS! Other than that, it was a great trip. Couldn’t believe how things are still shut down in Ohio. Florida has been wide open since July. Looking forward to going for a ride in your Caddy. With luck, the Lincoln will be running also.......hurry up! 😎

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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31 minutes ago, edinmass said:


Yup.........I’ll grace you and your lovey wife with my presence next time I am in town.........which will be soon. By the way....the car rental at the airport SUCKS! Other than that, it was a great trip. Couldn’t believe how things are still shut down in Ohio. Florida has been wide open since July. Looking forward to going for a ride in your Caddy. With luck, the Lincoln will be running also.......hurry up! 😎

 

The Hertz bus driver last time I was there was the nicest/funniest one I have ever had.   Everybody in Ohio is nice,  as opposed to what we have here in lovely Mass.    If it was warmer,  I would move to Ohio.

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39 minutes ago, K8096 said:

I think parts car is a bit of an exaggeration Ed.   However, I will share with you they were thinking of drilling a hole in the flywheel cover so they could pry on the flywheel with a screwdriver to try to get it to turn over.   Thankfully they didn't get that far.        

 

Ed exaggerate?   Naaaaaaaa.    That is a GREAT car that would be a worthwhile project for someone.   Only focus is mechanics,  the club is very supportive and if you have to Steve can sell you any part you need - right Ed?

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1 hour ago, K8096 said:

I think parts car is a bit of an exaggeration Ed.   However, I will share with you they were thinking of drilling a hole in the flywheel cover so they could pry on the flywheel with a screwdriver to try to get it to turn over.   Thankfully they didn't get that far.        


 

The reality is, it’s a parts car. The P2’s are so complicated and have five times the parts or a regular classic. I rather restore three Model J’s over one P2. Parts are insanely expensive. Ever try and hone the timing gears on a Rolls after pouring new main bearings? It’s an 80 hour job just to set up the gears. Not a single piece of hardware is standard. The throttle and timing linkage takes a engineer from MIT to get things correct. Add in the special tools, jigs, and fixtures to fix them................there are very few people on the planet who truly understand what a P1, P2, or P3 really are from an engineering and mechanical standpoint. They are quite simply........an overwhelming car to try and service without years of experience. The car listed above for sale is ten weeks past it’s sell by date. Unattractive coachwork, frozen engine, and lots of previous hack work...........it’s parts. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Keith......I wouldn't consider you skill set as average. From the little I have seen, you jump in more than most restoration shops. Fact is 90 percent of the restoration shops out there have no chance of getting a P2 done correctly........NONE. Most people can’t get a Mustang restoration done...........and a Rolls is fifty times more difficult. I have been in the hobby for fifty years............I don’t know anyone who has all the tools necessary to fix a P1 or P2 in a small at home shop anymore. Thirty years ago.....yes. Today, virtually none. A trained aircraft mechanic who doesn’t have a budget......possible. Look at the under hood condition of everything....it’s so rusty just the plating under hood would cost 50k. The mechanical talent today is four hundred percent less than it was twenty years ago. How many people can pour white metal and line bore that car..........lots think they can, and almost no one can today. Fact is a pre war Rolls is beyond 99.5 percent of everyone in the hobby........it’s just that 99.9 percent don’t realize it.

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I have to come clean, it cost me about £33k to get it roadworthy and at least £6k was tooling and equipment. Like you say, it’s not so much the complexity of the engine it’s the knowledge and resources needed to do the job that have died out over the past 40 years, things like hand scraping a bearing for example, most people these days give you a blank look when you mention it. It’s quite sad really because the sense of pride and accomplishment that a good job can give is hard to beat. 
 

I worry about this poor car, all the talk of forcing the engine free will just do more damage, the sump is probably full of water from condensation if not rain. If I had it I would delicately dismantle it and release the seized component sympathetically not just scrape it free by forcing it regardless of the use of releasing agent. 
 

if I had the money I would buy it just to save it. Or if I was in America I would do the work for free and just ask reimbursement for parts & materials because I understand there are 117 of the 125 still in existence, the thought of loosing one now genuinely turns my stomach.   

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1 hour ago, Keith Ward said:

I think it is because the AJS/AMS were as close to perfection as Rolls Royce ever came. 😉 

 

Interesting fact: all of the AMS/AJS chassis from 1931 to 1933 carried a black radiator badge.  

 

Like this?  What do the other series badges look like?

RollsRoycePIIRadiator.jpg

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The P2’s are nice. We have two, and they are quite nice. I prefer our P1. Once you have driven a York you can’t go back! Or forward for that matter........👍
 

Having driven everything worth driving, this is my favorite car. 
 

Let me rephrase that.........This is my favorite automobile of all time. How is THAT for a statement?

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Just now, edinmass said:

The P2’s are nice. We have two, and they are quite nice. I prefer our P1. Once you have driven a York you can’t go back! Or forward for that matter........👍

 

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That is a beautiful motor car, and especially attractive with the absence of hideous white walls and chrome wheels which seem to be almost obligatory on pre war Rolls Royce motor cars these days, you have impeccable taste.

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On 3/15/2021 at 7:50 PM, K8096 said:

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Someone can get a nice car out of this, but they cannot be naive - it is 40K to just get it to run up and down the driveway before you do much of anything else to it (IF YOU ARE LUCKY).  Keep in mind too that a leaky cylindr head leaks to where and what damage can that possibly cause.    And, the PI and PII aluminum cylinder heads were going bad in 1950's - it was a key reason for founding the RROC and the very first publication notes the head issues.   And, I have read peoples notes and respect their opinions, but WILL NEED A NEW CYLINDER HEAD at pushing 20K, it will need new water tubes "swedged" into the cylinders, it will need a water pump rebuild, and stands a strong chance of needing a radiator rebuild - and there you now have 40K on the cheap.  Then, you need a chunk of change in tires.   The taillamp will be 1K for the part and the bumpers will be probably each about the same - then you get to restore them.  And, it would be nice to have the trunk - see it in 2018 photos, but ....

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On 3/17/2021 at 6:17 PM, 58L-Y8 said:

...And other Rolls-Royce limousine becomes a static museum display...


 

Garage display....with a detail on the outside.

 

Imagine, something so wonderfully engineered has zero value due to lack of capable hands.....the craftsmanship that built it is the same as what killed it.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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On 3/16/2021 at 5:30 AM, edinmass said:

I don’t know anyone who has all the tools necessary to fix a P1 or P2 in a small at home shop anymore. ...

 

This made my smile. I still have my special Ghost and PI tools in a box at the bottom of a stack of shelves entertaining the fantasy that I may get another chance at one. At this point, if that did happen, I'd be too old to do the work. I would be happy with a 20HP though...probably 26 or 27, the first with a 4-speed transmission, front-wheel brakes but still with the horizontal louvers on the radiator. About 30 years ago I had a deal on one - the price was agreed and I needed a few days to move the money. (This was all pre-internet banking) The SOB I was buying it from sold it to someone else "because he didn't think I could afford it"... but he called me collect to say so. If I could remember his name I'd mention it - though he's probably dead by now. Not everyone in this hobby is a gentleman.

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9 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

 

This made my smile. I still have my special Ghost and PI tools in a box at the bottom of a stack of shelves entertaining the fantasy that I may get another chance at one. At this point, if that did happen, I'd be too old to do the work. I would be happy with a 20HP though...probably 26 or 27, the first with a 4-speed transmission, front-wheel brakes but still with the horizontal louvers on the radiator. About 30 years ago I had a deal on one - the price was agreed and I needed a few days to move the money. (This was all pre-internet banking) The SOB I was buying it from sold it to someone else "because he didn't think I could afford it"... but he called me collect to say so. If I could remember his name I'd mention it - though he's probably dead by now. Not everyone in this hobby is a gentleman.

 

The percentage of dinks that collect cars is the same as the percentage across general society.   Btw,  I've always contended that the ratio of dinks among poor guys and rich guys is roughly the same too. 

 

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Gatsby Rolls is still for sale,  this time on eBay.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1928-Rolls-Royce-Phantom-I-/143983892340

 

See inspection report, full photos, videos and more at . Robert Redfords Gatsby Rolls. This is one of the very few cars ever to hold co-star status within a great American classic novel, an iconic movie, and an actor such as Robert Redford. This 1928 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton is nearly perfect after benefiting from a thorough restoration with marque experts with a total investment of about $1.2 million. We believe it is safe to say that between its provenance on the silver screen and the restoration, this is one of the most important Rolls-Royces in existence. F. Scott Fitzgerald selected a Rolls-Royce as the car to be featured in his classic and timeless novel, The Great Gatsby. The car was described in detail in the novel and was an important highlight in the movie as well. And with an all-star cast selected by Paramount studios, it was important that the Rolls-Royce was equally as stunning. Robert Redford starred alongside Mia Farrow to create this all-time classic movie. S304KP was just the right car to co-star with Robert Redford. It had been owned by Ted Leonard who was a well known collector from Seekonk, Massachusetts. The Rolls is likely the only Ascot sport phaeton built as a dual cowl. And this was one of the details F. Scott Fitzgerald included in his description of Jay Gatsbys Rolls: He saw me looking with admiration at his car. Its pretty, isnt it, old sport! He jumped off to give me a better view. Havent you ever seen it before? Id seen it. Everybody had seen it. It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town. After being selected as The Gatsby Rolls, S304KP required its livery repainted in the creamy yellow combination and its leather interior to be dyed in an elegant green. The result was perfect. Chassis S304KP was originally a Town Brougham delivered to Mildred Loring Logan of New York City, and was later owned by American Tobacco Company president, George Washington Hill. There is no documented history in the Rolls-Royce factory Schoellkopf Cards from 1929 through 1964. The research determines that the Ascot body was originally mounted onto chassis S240RM and that the body was moved onto chassis S304KP sometime during or after 1945. The history of the Rolls is well researched and documented, and copies of the related factory and historical information accompany the motorcar. Mr. Leonard acquired the car just in time for the starring role as The Gatsby Rolls. The Leonards maintained ownership of S304KP for the next 36 years. In 2009, The Gatsby Rolls was sold at auction from Leonards estate to John OQuinn of Houston, Texas. Mr. OQuinn died suddenly a few months later, and the car was eventually sold to the current owners, for whom a ground-up restoration was completed from 2011 through 2019. Many of the leading experts were involved in the restoration. Steve Littin from Vintage & Auto Rebuilds in Chardon, Ohio did the full mechanical restoration and the paint and body restoration was performed by Shawn Robinson from Yesterdays in Tyler, Texas. The Gatsby Rolls is nearly perfect today after a total investment in the restoration of about $1.2 million. It would be welcomed at any concours event throughout the world, and had been invited to be shown at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours. The elegant cream paint is excellent in all respects and is accented by the abundance of concours quality chrome. The green leather interior is complimented by the tan Haartz cloth canvas convertible top and the beautiful wood dashboard with chrome bezels. The Ascot body is widely considered one of the most stunning designs of the classic period. It is both sporty and elegant. We have an appraisal for The Gatsby Rolls supporting the asking price. But more importantly, we believe this Rolls is priced well. It is well known that such iconic classics that are indelibly fixed into our memories and culture, are sought after the world over. This explains the values for such items as the decrepit Bullet Mustang selling for $3.74 million in January 2020 and Paul Newmans Rolex selling for $17.8 million in October 2017. The Great Gatsby as a book has sold about 30 million copies and the number of people who have watch the classic movie is beyond estimation. This is an important fixture in Americas culture. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the most important Rolls-Royces in the world. The Gatsby Rolls is owned by The Chamberlain Foundation, a not-for-profit. Its purpose is to help educate future restorers of collector cars and watch makers. Certain tax advantages may be available to the purchaser of the motorcar. The Gatsby Rolls is available for viewing and inspection in Texas. Please call, text or email Harry Clark at 1.602.245.7200 or .

GastbyPhantom1.jpg

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I spent a lot of time with this car. For the month before the movie was released it was on display in the lobby of the Gulf & Western Building in NYC...complete with a chauffeur-dressed talking head...that was me. I worked for the owner at the time. Actually, I was one of the two "used car mechanics" at his Volvo dealership but did nearly all of the RR work because the other fellow - who was a good friend and about the best mechanic I've ever known - didn't care for them.

 

I know who it was purchased from and I knew the person who arranged the sale better than I knew Ted - the owner. Before the first auction I was contacted by a research agent and told him what I could about it. Suffice it to say, I think the asking price is at least 4 times the value regardless of how much was spent on it. Who cares how many people have read the book? There is hardly anything more transient than movie fame. Even now I doubt practically anyone under 60 has bothered to watch the movie unless it's on Netflix and they are bored. I was in the movie and I've never seen the whole thing!

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When Ted bought the car it was painted the beige & brown so popular in the 60s and 70s. The upholstery was a light beige leather. The description is wrong in that it wasn't repainted yellow after it was chosen to be in the movie. Ted painted it yellow and dyed the seats green (with Connoly leather dye) before the movie people ever saw it, in the hope it would be chosen. They also used S111BG, E. Andrew Mowbray's Ghost Permanent Salamanca. Andy wouldn't let anyone else drive his car so he was cast as Mia Farrow's chauffeur. Some of the scenes were filmed at Pinewood Studios in England so they flew the PI and the Ghost to England after the filming in Newport. After the filming, Andy and his son drove S111BG up to Scotland and back. The Ghost was in England when I last heard of it, in a warehouse, somewhat the worse for poor storage and not running for years. Some time ago I was contacted by a solicitor working for the owner that, rather imperiously, demanded I give them copies of my invoices for work on the car. I also offered to take a look at it for them when I was in the UK but was told that wasn't needed. I ignored the request for the invoices. Mr. M was a good friend and we worked on the car together in his garage. I didn't charge for anything. There aren't many chances for a aspiring mechanic in his mid-20s to work on a fabulous early American Ghost and I was more than satisfied with the opportunity.

 

As far as I know, I'm the only one left who worked on both cars at the time of the movie.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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